Taking Stock of the World Media – A Recap of the Global Media Forum

August 27, 2015

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By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist – Frankfurt

In crisis situations around the world, the media has an undeniable impact on perception of events. It also shapes public opinion and can even manage to influence political decision makers. With the help of the internet, media access has multiplied and more and more platforms now vie for our attention. It made sense, then, that the topic of this year’s Global Media Forum, hosted by Deutsche Welle, was “Media and Foreign Policy in the Digital Age.” About 2,000 journalists and media workers came from more than 100 countries to take part in the discussions and workshops in Germany’s former capital Bonn.

Participant looking at the Plenary Chamber - Photo by Kai Prager

Participant looking at the Plenary Chamber – Photo by Kai Prager

Many presentations noted that the internet, with its vast platforms of social media, blogs, news sites, etc., has radically changed the media landscape by enabling anyone to participate and creating a demand for speed of information. But the demand for speed also puts pressure on traditional media. This was not lost on Andreas Zumach, a journalist with German paper Die Tageszeitung.

“We have a rat race to see who is first with the most spectacular news,” Zumach said. “That makes it difficult for journalists who cover the efforts to de-escalate or even solve the conflict at a diplomatic level to get coverage.”

Asiem El Difraoui, a researcher for the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, stated, “We run after the news … we don’t do permanent coverage of places which are still potentially dangerous and might explode from one minute to the next.” El Difraoui also lamented that a lot of media reduce its foreign coverage and are later surprised by the consequences. “People are much more interested in what is happening in foreign countries than what we give them credit for.”

Dana Asaad and Asiem El Difraoui - Photo by Kai Prager

Dana Asaad and Asiem El Difraoui – Photo by Kai Prager

At this international forum, the situation of foreign countries was discussed on many levels. It was mentioned that, often, media of countries in transition are not as advanced as media in more developed countries, and this often causes problems. The main problems that were visited and revisited were the lack of quality journalism due to poor training and funding; no freedom of the press; usage of media for propaganda and misinformation; and no access to information.

An example for this problem was shared by Dana Asaad, Editor-in-Chief of Awene.com, who said that a lack of well-trained journalists contributes to the continued conflict in Iraq.

“It’s obvious that covering a post-conflict [Iraq] … we need to have qualified people,” Assad said. “Before 2003, we had few media outlets – you could count them on your hand – and it was the media of the Baathist regime. One color, one opinion, one ideology.  After 2003, suddenly, hundreds of media outlets came out. Every single political party and every single official had its own media. … but we didn’t have journalists.” Asaad continued, “Journalism became the job for jobless people. You fill all those media outlets with people who have no journalism background and they know nothing about the ethics of journalism and those people started to cover the post-conflict time.”

There was also a discussion about propaganda in political reporting within the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Ukrainian journalist Yevhen Fedchenko explained that propaganda tools to promote the government’s message are mainly implemented by Russia to change, omit or manipulate facts. In contrast, the Ukrainian government doesn’t have the same means to promote its propaganda though the media. Instead, news outlets started to target different groups and usually don’t keep up journalistic standards.

Many speakers mentioned problems with authoritarian governments that try to stop unwanted reporting. Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was honored with the Freedom of Speech award at the annual prize competition The Bobs (Best of Online Activism).  In his ceremonial speech, Editor-in-Chief of zeit.de, Jochen Wegner, said the ceremony was “among the most bitter, for Raif Badawi cannot be with us today.” Badawi is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in Saudi Arabia for criticizing senior religious figures online.

Jochen Wegner holds his ceremonial speech - Photo by Kai Prager

Jochen Wegner holds his ceremonial speech – Photo by Kai Prager

After three days of discussions and workshops, it became clear that media professionals need to band together and work together on a worldwide basis. The Global Media Forum served as a jumping off point for this type of comradery and coordination, and hopes to continue foster international journalistic cooperation into the future.


Journalism Technology and the Canadian Media – A Game of Give and Take

August 12, 2015

Jean-Adrien (2)

By Jean-Adrien Delicano, Media Relations Specialist – Canada

In June, I attended the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) annual conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The CAJ conference is generally considered the largest gathering of Canadian journalists during the year and offers journalists a place to exchange ideas, tools and a few laughs.

Halifax

Halifax

The conference covered a lot of subjects regarding the state of journalism. Speakers held panels about ethics, investigative journalism, different types of reporting and tips on how to succeed as a journalist today.

One particular subject that dominated the conference was the role of technology in journalism. These days, technology goes hand-in-hand with just about everything in our lives, be that organizing our days, facilitating tasks or providing entertainment. Technological advancements have also played a big role in improving news gathering, production and consumption. These new tools for journalists range from drones with cameras designed to capture images from different vantage points, to web programs that intend to protect the identity of sources.

Trevor Adams, editor of the local city and lifestyle publication Halifax Magazine, agrees with the notion that technology improves journalism. That said, there can be pitfalls that may come as a result of technological advancements.

“Many of the technologies referred to are becoming essential tools for journalists and it was good to learn more about them,” Adams says. “However, as other sessions discussed, these technologies also have the potential for great intrusion on personal privacy. I was pleased the conference covered both sides of the issue.”

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, current president of the CAJ and moderator at the conference this year, agrees that new technology has benefited modern newsrooms. But he also says there is risk involved when trying out the latest and greatest gadgets and apps.

Nick Taylor-Vaisey

Nick Taylor-Vaisey

“Many of journalism’s technologically driven projects are experiments. That’s important, because it demonstrates that newsrooms can innovate and try things out with no guarantee of success,” Taylor-Vaisey says. “Of course, that latter bit is also important to note: Not every experiment works as intended or delivers what was expected.

“One of the enduring themes of CAJ 2015 was that we brought together innovators who know what works and who could pass on some of that knowledge to their peers,” he continued. “Those delegates all return to newsrooms that are stronger for that learning.”

Topics regarding technology in journalism covered at the conference included:

Using drones for news gathering: Drones can be used to capture captivating footage for news stories from a perspective that has not always been available to everyday people until recently. Drone journalism is an emerging field in the industry, and soon it will be a useful tool for journalists. While drone journalism has been prominent in other countries around the world, the issue of safety and ethics has affected the use of drones for news reporting in Canada.

Data journalism: Math and numbers may scare off some journalists, but they can also help them find stories buried in the data. Spreadsheets and analytics can be used to discover trends, predict possible future results or further verify facts. Recently, Canadian journalism schools have begun to offer more data journalism classes, as young journalists are seeing the value in stories underneath the statistics.

Covering your online tracks: In this age of digital surveillance, the safety of your sources, and perhaps even yourself, can depend on an ability to cover your tracks online. With threats posed by hackers and the NSA, your privacy may be compromised during the chase for a great story. A CAJ panel brought up some tools and tips that can help journalists protect their sources and secure their own safety.

Photo and video journalism right in the palm of your hand: Journalists once had to rely on heavy, expensive and intrusive technology in order to capture photos and videos for their stories. Today, journalists can use their handheld, pocketable smartphones to capture photos and videos in ways not possible as recent as a decade ago, improving the speed and accuracy of modern news reporting. The CAJ Conference featured panels that discussed how to take advantage of mobile technology when it comes to photo journalism, and how to verify that what we see is true in the age of speedy and citizen journalism.


Armenian Media Today: Q&A with Gegham Vardanyan

July 13, 2015

By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire Frankfurt

Armenia is a country with an ancient cultural heritage that once reached from the Mediterranean to the Caspian Sea. It also was the first country to adopt Christianity in 301 AD.

To strengthen the statehood and instructing the people in the news religion, the Armenian alphabet was introduced around 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots and the first media was produced Many of these old scripts still exist and are collected in the Matenadaran, the repository of ancient manuscripts in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan.

Detail of the portal of the Matenadaran. Photo by Rabirius.

The first Armenian printing establishment was founded in Venice in 1565 and focused on religious texts; it was later moved to Istanbul. The first newspaper was published in Madras, India, in 1646, but it took another 60 years before Armenian papers and journals were printed in Armenia. As part of the USSR, most Soviet-era publications were in Russian; however, in the 1980s, there was a language and cultural revival that sparked an increase in journalistic activity. After independence, Armenia developed its own press laws. Though some media enterprises failed, more publications were founded that are still in circulation today, like Aravot, Yerkir, or AZG

The Internet began to spread with the beginning of the 21st Century and online media was developed.

To find out more about the development of online media and other trends of the Armenian media market,we asked Gegham Vardanyan, producer of Media.am, a project of the Media Initiatives Center, to give us an overview:

1.  The media market in Armenia is small. Which effect does it have on the media landscape?
Armenia is a small country; the actual population figure barely reaches 3 million. This doesn’t prevent us from having, for example, a large number of TV channels. For instance, there are 14 TV channels broadcast in Yerevan alone. There are many daily newspapers, but the print media is experiencing a crisis: print runs barely reach 5,000. In addition, newspapers are printed 5 times a week: there are no newspapers on Sunday or Monday.

Online media is well developed. News websites usually publish in three languages: Armenian, English, and Russian.

Despite the quantity I mentioned, it’s not always that the same TV station offers diverse TV products for its viewers, especially in terms of news. Armenian news outlets are not wealthy, and few have their own correspondents, not even in Moscow or Washington. In order to keep abreast of international news, Armenian news outlets often make use of different news agencies, especially Russian sources.

2.  Who owns the classic media outlets, like publishing houses, broadcasting stations, etc.? Does it interfere with journalistic work?

There is the Public TV and Radio Company of Armenia, which is completely financed by the state budget.

The matter of media ownership, by and large, is a problem. In many cases, large media holdings are Closed Joint-Stock Companies (CJSC). The law allows neither members of the public to apply to the state registry to receive the names of stockholders nor requires media companies to make the names of stockholders public.

Some of the private stations belong to politicians and businessmen close to the government. Though the law officially prohibits political parties from owning TV channels, four parliamentary parties have a huge influence on four different TV stations and the public knows this. This, of course, has a direct effect on the work of these TV channels.

Gegham Vardanyan. Photo by Sona Kocharyan.

Gegham Vardanyan. Photo by Sona Kocharyan.

3.  How did the move to digital media change the Armenian media landscape?
News websites in Armenia that operate according to the convergent newsroom model are advanced. Leading websites offer their readers not only text, but also high-quality photos, video, and live video coverage of developing news.

The most widespread social networking site is the Russian Odnoklassniki, though for discussions on social and political topics, the main platform is Facebook.

Though there is a lack of professionalism in the Armenian media landscape, the increasing number of news websites ensure media pluralism and are relatively more free (i.e. less controlled) than broadcast and, to a lesser extent, print media.

4.  What sources do journalists usually use to access information?
In Armenia, journalists use press releases. There are 5–6 press clubs that host press conferences on different issues every day. Republishing content from local news outlets without permission, as well as translating from various foreign media, is extremely widespread.

5.  Which topics are most popular in the media?
Here, the picture is the same as in the rest of the world. The most popular topics are crimes, celebrities, and sports, especially football. From political topics, of interest are news on the Karabakh conflict, when the situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijani border is tense. In general, developing news are of interest.

But the overall picture is different on different websites. For example, the top 5 most read stories in 2014 of a few leading news websites in Armenia were drastically different.

6.  Do you have any tips for people who would like to reach media, or journalists in Armenia?
You can read about Armenia’s media in a few industry websites, such as the Media Initiatives Center, Media.am (a project of the Media Initiative Center), and the Yerevan Press Club. See also the database of Armenian media outlets and professionals on the Yerevan Press Club website, as well as the Media Map on Media.am, which is organized by region (for example, see here for Yerevan).

Journalists in Armenia can be reached through social media. They are active primarily on Facebook, though also on Twitter.

Note:  Adrineh Der-Bogossian helped Gegham Vardanyan with the English text.

Click here to share this media relations tip on Twitter: How to Work with Armenian Media: A Q&A with Gegham Vardanyan: http://ctt.ec/7j2V9

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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Journey of a News Release

July 7, 2015

We can tell you how a press release develops into breaking news, reaching everyone from industry reporters to regular folks enjoying morning coffee with their tablet. We can also show you the same information with a cool sharable video. What’s the difference? The difference is the same as reading a recipe for the perfect steak or watching Gordon Ramsey prepare one, step-by-step. Visuals relay information that is both unique and engaging and when executed correctly, highly effective.  These are the reasons why we won’t tell you how a news release works – we’ll just show you.

The release of How Your News is Made – An Inside Look at News Releases and News Distribution aims to showcase the steps that a company announcement takes before issuers can celebrate the full results of their communications outreach.

The new media playing field is changing. Taking full advantage of social and mobile platforms, as well as advances in smartMastercard Sample Release technology (even air conditioners seem to be smart these days) can make significant impact in maximizing news release visibility. How does that happen? First a news release needs to be written. Not all releases are written equal and certain actionable tips can go a long way such as crafting a compelling headline, ensuring the first sentence contains key information, inserting calls to action and leveraging well placed hyperlinks to drive inbound traffic.

The next step shows just how much influence the digital revolution has on how people communicate. Once you have crafted your interesting news release, it is time to add in supporting multimedia. The reach of a text-only news release is minor compared to the reach of a release that includes multimedia. An image, an infographic, a video—these assets push your news across the internet and keep audiences engaged while consuming your core messages.

3 times as muchThe reason for multimedia’s success is how easily it relays ideas. Humans process images 60,000 times faster than text. When reading text you try to paint an image of what you’re reading with your imagination. A video offers information in such a way that can’t be misinterpreted, both offering information and explaining it, simultaneously. Business Wire CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz does not hide her confidence in the role multimedia will play in the communications industry.

“My prediction is that multimedia will be a part of every single news release.” – Cathy Baron Tamraz during a conversation with Tim Bahr, CEO of Nextworks.

Once the release has been built and sent to Business Wire, our editorial team reviews the release, suggests edits and distributions to ensure the release meets your goals.  Once edited and approved, the final news release is disseminated across the wire and into the hands of your key constituents.

But you can’t celebrate just yet!  Once the release is out, media outreach performed and online discussions have begun, it is time to measure the results of your work.

Business Wire provides a wide range of measurement and monitoring tools to help you track the impact of your news rulerrelease. Business Wire NewsTrak and NUVI reporting shows not only how much activity your release received, it provides detailed information on social discussion and shares surrounding your news. For more specific data, the Market Impact Report tracks the impact of your release upon your (and your industry’s) stock price.

Your release has been crafted, assets added, received editorial review and feedback, crossed the wire, activated your key and secondary audiences and provided you with data to help craft the next one.

This is the path of a news release.

Interested in learning more about Business Wire’s news distribution service? Let us know! And just click here to share out this exclusive sneak peek on the distribution of a news release:  http://ctt.ec/CdaQm.


Think Globally and Act Locally with Business Wire’s New Multilingual Twitter Feeds

July 1, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media

Business Wire today increased the visibility of its global news content with the launch of 19 new language-based Twitter feeds. This initiative is a continuation of Business Wire’s thinking globally, acting locally efforts aimed at ensuring our client’s news reaches local audiences around the world.

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Business Wire’s new language-based Twitter feeds will enhance its already strong social media presence, bringing its Twitter news feed presence to a total of 84 accounts.  The new Twitter handles feature tweets based on news releases distributed in the following languages: Chinese (CN), Chinese (HK), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.

Business Wire’s new language specific feeds can be found at the following URLs:

Have questions about our new multilingual Twitter feeds, or want to learn more about Business Wire?  Let us know.

Click here to share this information out on Twitter: http://ctt.ec/01pck

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PR Tip: How to Work with Global News Agencies: Agence France-Presse

June 29, 2015

Last week, Business Wire presented audiences with an inside view of the global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) and tips on how to pitch your business news to their global editorial team. AFP is one of the largest newswires in the world, behind Associated Press and Reuters, with regional offices and bureaus covering breaking and business news generated in over 150 countries.

Our panelists included David Williams, deputy editor-in-chief; Amina Ben Cheikh, marketing manager of web and mobile; and Francois Bohn, international sales coordinator. The event was moderated by Raschanda Hall.

The webinar provided listeners with a better understanding of AFP’s international reach and offered best practices in securing news coverage from AFP journalists and staff around the world.

Click here to listen to this discussion: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7831143293398660097

During the hour-long event speakers shared key figures that depict just how many lives are reached as a result of AFP’s news coverage, including:

  • 5 24-hour regional headquarters in Washington, Montevideo, Paris, Nicosia, and Hong Kong.
  • 200 news bureaus around the world
  • 150 countries covered
  • 1,500 journalists filing news 24/7
  • 2,300 staff covering world news
  • 800 subsequent media subscribers utilize Business Wire’s news feed
  • Partnerships, such as those with CBS
  • AFP mobile app which provides instant access to breaking news, and news releases alike (in fact, news releases happen to be one of the most accessed sections of their English language news app)

In addition to the news agency’s global reach with coverage ranging from sports to business, AFP also has 1.4 million Twitter followers including nearly 400k English speaking followers.

It’s clear that Agence France-Presse has its ears to the ground all around the globe, but how does that translate into news coverage? What is the impact of AFP reporting on the world in a single day? In a single day, AFP is responsible for writing and distributing more than 8,000 pieces of news content.

AFP in a day

What was especially fascinating was the importance of Business Wire to AFP’s corporate news coverage. As Williams noted, every AFP economic news editor is required to monitor Business Wire for breaking company news throughout their day.  Why?

  • Speed: AFP relies on Business Wire’s business news feed because it is fast and efficient, and often times quicker than receiving news via a company’s website. Business Wire feeds are especially important for earnings releases.
  • Accuracy: When it comes to crafting coverage, the most important element of the news coverage for AFP is accuracy.
  • Trusted source: As David Williams noted, company news releases received from approved commercial newswires such as Business Wire provide a level of trust in the shared content.

How BW file appears in AFP

When asked how PR professionals can increase the potential of news release coverage by AFP?

  1. Write compelling news releases
  2. Include a useful, humanized quote
  3. Add compelling multimedia
  4. Distribute news releases over a trusted newswire like Business Wire
  5. Reach out to AFP’s local news bureau (Click here to find the one closest to you: http://www.afp.com/en/agency/afp-in-world/)

AFP news bureaus

The journey of a release starts as news coverage of just a single sentence, later evolving into a several hundred word piece before being developed into a full feature. Afterwards an AFP post, possibly in multiple languages, may follow to offer readers background information. Oftentimes more than one reporter will be covering a story, including translation for distribution in multiple regions.

Why is AFP an important resource for today’s local, regional, national and international communication pros?

When a company makes an announcement, it wants that information to reach the largest interested audience possible. That is the cornerstone of converting a news release into news. With roots dating back to 1835, AFP is a world leader in bringing breaking stories to the public. If you have newsworthy content crossing the wire, make sure to contact the corresponding regional headquarters and bring their attention to the release. Because they have so many journalists regularly checking BW’s feeds, there’s a good chance they’re already on top of it.


Snacking On News … Will It Fill Your Brain?

June 23, 2015

Simona Bio

By Simona Colletta, International Media Relations Specialist – Paris

The internet helps people understand new things like the best way to clean a bicycle chain, proper snooker techniques, and how to change a car’s head lamp. But, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, the internet is not helping people comprehend the news. The study found that only 42 percent of people were able to answer basic questions about the news.

How could this be? Why are people so uninformed about the news when they have so many options to get the news? Maybe it’s precisely because they have all of those options. People are no longer digging into news stories and completely digesting them; instead, they are merely snacking on the news. According to the study, 59 percent of the time people do not read past the headlines on internet stories. The snacking is light, it seems.

eating_paper

While the Pew Research Center Study doesn’t identify study participants by geographic location, I live in France and was recently alerted to an Odoxa survey done for Trooclick, a French start-up company that developed an opinion-driven search engine which uses a natural language processing technology to gather news and opinions online. The survey reveals some interesting data on how the French view today’s news landscape.

85 percent of French people believe that they have more information available

Between ongoing chains of information, online news sites, search engines, and social networks, the French feel more informed than they did ten years ago. A whopping 85 percent of them believe they have more information on the news. This finding is shared widely across the population, regardless of age, social class, or income level.

Graph 1

The French do not feel more informed

If the French have won in terms of quantity of information available to them on the internet, they certainly don’t feel they have won in terms of quality. Although 77 percent consider the available information on current events is becoming more varied, only a minority believes that information is becoming more useful.

It must be noted that the internet offers so much in terms of information, but that information is often scattered, poorly organized and frequently redundant. The result? Of every 10 articles read, less than half are read in full (4.5 exactly). A tiny minority of French (8 percent) read every article in full.

Graph 2

Nearly 7 out of 10 French are interested in a free online service that would deliver them a summary of every point of view on a news event

The logical conclusion to the results of the survey (and encouraging for Business Wire and Trooclick) is that 66 percent of French people would be interested in a free online service that would deliver to them a summary of all current events. The youngest were the most interested: 8 out of 10 would be keen on this kind of online service.

Snacking on the news is not bad in and of itself, but we should be attentive, as we are in our kitchen, to the quality and reliability of what we snack upon. In this massive jungle of media and information, a reader can now count on interactive tools that help him/her to select the best “product” and follow his/her fields of interest.

Have a bite!

Try Business Wire’s Press Pass or click here to visit trooclick.com

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